Picks and Pans Review: Temperamental
Australia's Divinyls are further proof that there's more to Dundeeland than kangaroos, boomerangs and koala bears. So far, the Divinyls have been unable to sell their streetwise sensibilities to the American mainstream. Perhaps lead vocalist Christina Amphlett's raspy, histrionic hiccup of a voice has been part of the problem. But on Temperamental, the band's third LP, Amphlett, guitarist Mark McEntee and producer Mike Chapman manage to give fellow Aussie bands such as INXS and Midnight Oil a run for their irreverence and make a cogent bid for Yank acceptance. Amphlett's schizophrenic, now breathy-now gravelly voice and McEntee's guitar spasms turn their often hackneyed lyrics into dark, apocalyptic ballads. Typical is the Amphlett-McEntee song Punxie. It contains such classic prosaic writing as: "Sometimes in life/ There are things that you want/ There are things that you need/ I know what I need." But the Divinyls rise above their own lyrical incompetence with raw, captivatingly atonal energy that contains shades of early Blondie, the Pretenders and that vocal roller coaster from Detroit, Lene Lovich. Listen to the libido-crazed Dirty Love, Run-a-Way Train or the cover of Syndicate of Sound's 1966 hit Little Girl (retitled Hey, Little Boy) to appreciate the band's 70s-style guitar sound. Like INXS, the Divinyls reflect a generic rock mind-set that doesn't need layering with cloying synthesizer gloss. (Chrysalis)
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